As part of his first official visit to Bangladesh, International Development Minister Desmond Swayne met with Mr Mahmood Ali, Honourable Foreign Minister of Bangladesh to discuss development and investment opportunities. The UK is the largest bilateral grant donor in Bangladesh and is proud of its ties with the country over the past 44 years since independence.
The Ministers discussed ways of strengthening commercial ties between the two countries as well as the importance of working together globally in the lead up to events such as December’s conference on climate change in Paris.
Desmond Swayne said:
“I was very pleased to meet with the Foreign Minister during my trip to Bangladesh.
“Bangladesh has played a critical role raising awareness of the impacts of climate change on the poorest people and has provided a strong voice to encourage developing countries to argue their corner.
“The UK is committed to supporting Bangladesh to play a pivotal role on the international stage and this was a good opportunity to discuss how we can work together to help ensure positive outcomes from the Paris conference on climate change alongside our work on the new global goals. I look forward to seeing Bangladesh further demonstrate its leadership on this issue by publishing its national plan to reduce carbon emissions soon.”
Notes to editors
The UK Government is committed to supporting Bangladesh’s development. We are the largest bilateral grant donor in Bangladesh (£185 million in 2014/15), with an aid programme which will directly help millions of the poorest people in Bangladesh. By the end of 2015, our programme will help lift 1.5 million people out of extreme poverty, improve access to clean drinking water for 1.3 million people and adequate sanitation for 2.8 million, get more children a better quality education, improve family planning and reduce deaths in childbirth, and develop technical skills for more young women and men seeking employment.
2015 is an important year for development, with the new Sustainable Development Goals being launched in September and the 21st Conference Of the Parties (COP) in Paris in December. The Paris COP aims to seek agreement for a Legally Binding Agreement reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030. The UK is fully committed to securing the legally binding agreement.
The economy of Bangladesh has grown between 5.3% to 6.6% each year since 1996. GDP growth rate in 2013-14 is 6.1%. Garment exports, totalling some $23bn in 2013-14 and remittances from overseas Bangladeshis, totalling almost $14bn in 2013-14, accounted for over 27% of GDP.
The UK was the second largest cumulative investor/source of FDI into Bangladesh in the last financial year 12/13 (second to Malaysia) with £159.5m worth of investment projects. Some 100 UK firms have operations locally with the main centres of operation focused around Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet. Major UK players include; Unilever, Reckitt, GlaxoSmithKline, Standard Chartered Bank, HSBC and G4S.
Bangladesh export to UK in 2014 was £1667million (services and goods), 93% of the total export is from the RMG sector.